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Full text of "My Country And My People"

338          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

village home; how Yuan Chunglang, Yuan Mei and Cheng
Panch'iao, one and all, avoided politics like poison and learned
to live at peace with their bowl of hot congee on a winter
morning and their bed-bugs and mosquitoes at night. I remem-
ber how in times of national misrule and disorder the good
scholars were hounded and their wives and children and
distant relatives were murdered en masse, as during the begin-
ning of the Manchu Dynasty, and I begin to see how they
needed Buddhism, which some of them espoused, and the
negative philosophy of life, which all of them espoused.

Then I look over the modern times and see how the good
men, as in all countries, have abstained from politics; how
Wang Kuowei jumped into the lake of the Summer Palace,
and K'ang Yuwei spent the last years of his life in lonely
pride, and how Lusin shut himself up in dark and unmitigated
despair until the call for the literary revolution came, and how
Chang T'aiyen is to-day shutting himself up in Soochow, and
how Hu Shih, the student of Dewey and influenced by a more
progressive outlook, is pragmatizing and patching up the sores
of the people, without great enthusiasm, but still unwilling to
give up and turn China to the dogs—Hu Shih who, in a
moment of prophetic fury, cried out, "If China does not perish,
God is blind!"  These are the good men of China who cannot
help the country, for man has sinned against man, and the
bad men have sinned against the good men, and the good men
need a simple cotton gown for disguise.  Yet there are other
good men, not only five, not only fifty, but millions of them
suffering and carrying on, unsung and unheard of. The thought
wrings pity from the onlooker that there should be so many
good men and not a leader half the size of a Gandhi, that in
China individually men are more mature, but politically and
nationally we are as mere children.  And I begin to seek for
the causes and ask for the way out.

I push the question further and ask: Why are we individually
mature but politically and nationally mere children? And
why, out of the millions of good men, are there so few great
leaders to lead the nation out of chaos? Have these potential
leaders been assassinated* caught the flu, or otherwise died an
untimely death? Or have they grown old and feeble at forty;